August 04, 2021

Produced in Partnership with Color of Change, Rider Co-Authors and the Warner Music | Blatvatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University, the GRAMMY Awards® Are the First Major Music Awards Show to Publicly Commit to Using an Inclusion Rider

Santa Monica, Calif. Today the Recording Academy® announced that the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards® in 2022 will be produced with an Inclusion Rider, a contract addendum designed to be a powerful tool to ensure equity and inclusion at every level of the production. Currently in development, the Inclusion Rider is part of the larger #ChangeMusic initiative and is being created in partnership with Color Of Change, as well as co-authors Kalpana Kotagal (partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll), Fanshen Cox (head of strategic outreach, Pearl Street Films), and key contributors Valeisha Butterfield Jones (Co-President, Recording Academy) and Ryan Butler (founding director, Warner Music | Blavatnik Center for Music Business at Howard University). Poised to be the first major music awards show production to publicly commit to using an Inclusion Rider, the Recording Academy's adoption for the GRAMMY Awards® illustrates the adaptability and expansion of a tool that was originally developed to address systemic diversity and equity issues in film and television. The full inclusion rider will be released publicly on Sept. 16, 2021.

"We're honored to work alongside Color Of Change and the Inclusion Rider's esteemed co-authors as we take this monumental step to ensure equitable industry standards that support a more diverse and inclusive music community," said Harvey Mason jr., President/CEO of the Recording Academy. "As the Academy continues its transformational journey, diversifying our industry is at the core of every decision we make. We're dedicated to fostering an environment of inclusion industry-wide and hope that our efforts set an example for our peers in the music community."

"There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules," said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. "This Inclusion Rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the GRAMMYs, and will make inclusion the norm. We are proud to partner with the Recording Academy and hope that this joint effort inspires other entertainment industry leaders to join us in our fight for equity by adopting the Inclusion Rider."

"Incorporating the Inclusion Rider into the GRAMMY Awards will have an enormous impact on an industry that has a long history of exclusion and underrepresentation," said Kalpana Kotagal, Inclusion Rider co-author, civil rights attorney and partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. "Part of what makes the Inclusion Rider so potent is its adaptability and flexibility. The GRAMMY Awards Inclusion Rider will include the fundamental elements of the tool, including a commitment to deepening and diversifying hiring pools, setting benchmarks and targets for hiring, collecting and thoroughly analyzing applicant and hiring data and implementing accountability measures."

The Recording Academy will add the Inclusion Rider as an addendum to a contract between itself and the production company for the GRAMMY Awards. This addendum is a contractual obligation for the production company to make its best effort to recruit, audition, interview, and hire on-stage and off-stage people who have been historically and systematically excluded from the industry.

Originating in the film and television industries, the Inclusion Rider is a contract provision that sets forth a process for hiring and casting to expand and diversify the candidate pool, encourage hiring qualified cast and crew who have been traditionally underrepresented in productions, track progress, and create accountability. The most recent iteration of the Rider for Hollywood was released this spring through #ChangeHollywood, and expanded upon its original legal framework and advocates for intersectional inclusivity, which includes but is not limited to gender, race and ethnicity, as well as LGBTQIA, age and disability considerations.

A project long in the making, the Recording Academy has been working to bring Inclusion Riders to the music industry since 2019 and enlisted Color Of Change and the IR co-authors to create a Rider for the production of the GRAMMYs®. This is one piece of the important work Color Of Change and the Recording Academy have been leading together through the #ChangeMusic initiative. The Recording Academy and Color Of Change are also in the process of developing a public Rider template for video productions that will be released later this year.

About the Recording Academy

The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music's history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards — music's only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world's leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

For more information about the Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @RecordingAcad on Twitter, "like" Recording Academy on Facebook, and join the Recording Academy's social communities on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About Color of Change

Color Of Change is the nation's largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit

About Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is recognized as one of the premier law firms in the country handling major, complex plaintiff-side litigation. With more than 100 attorneys, Cohen Milstein has offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa. and Raleigh, N.C. For additional information, visit or call 202.408.4600.

About Warner Music | Blavatnik Center For Music Business

Warner Music | Blavatnik Center For Music Business Fellowship Program at Howard University is a one-year fellowship program for high potential students interested in pursuing careers in the music industry. The program provides fellows with coaching, specialized curriculum, mentorship and hands-on industry experience working with influential partner organizations. Students will also receive exclusive access to insider perspectives through an executive-in-residence program that engages industry leaders. Through the center, music executives will participate in a series of fireside chats, master classes and other programming that will expose students to the lived experiences of working in the industry. Finally, the center will provide engaging programming for all members of the Howard University community and the broader community to participate in, including guest lectures, business case competitions, and more.

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Press Contacts

Andie Cox, Recording Academy:  T. 310.581.8654 // 

Giovanna Sheerin, Cohen Milstein: T. 610.207.9167 //